Wednesday 24 December 2014

Interview with David E Stevens, Author of Resurrect (Fuzed Trilogy, Book 1) and Giveaway

I bought Impact (previously published as Resurrect) in 2013 when it was first published. I had not had the chance to read it until Amazon announced recently, it had been updated to a faster moving, updated Second Edition with additional scenes, in preparation for taking the Fuzed Trilogy to the movies. This was enough for me to start reading it now and realised interviewing this author would be one very interesting read and improve my enjoyment and understanding of this apocalyptic techno-thriller. 

To help promote this new edition, I approached David about having a giveaway as well. To win one of 5 copies of the kindle edition of this updated edition (only published in the kindle format), go to the end of this interview and follow the instructions by Rafflecopter. I can guarantee that this is worth entering as this novel is one thrill of a ride, and one very memorable read. 

Now, please read on and enjoy this interview with debut author, David E Stevens.  

Author Name: David E Stevens

Author Bio: Commander Dave Stevens was a nuclear weapons qualified Navy fighter pilot. He served as the Strike Operations Officer for the Persian Gulf during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. With a Top Secret clearance, he led classified defense programs, test-piloted new F-18 fighters and earned an aviation patent. He’s been to 33 countries, 10 miles above the earth and 600 feet below the Atlantic. He also survived hundreds of his own carrier landings. Dave holds engineering degrees from Cornell and the University of Michigan with graduate work in astrophysics. An international speaker and award-winning author, he uses an extensive network of subject matter experts – from astronauts and astrophysicists to intelligence operatives – to entertain and educate.

Current Book Title: Impact (Fuzed Trilogy Book 1)

Tell us a little about yourself, your work and how you got into writing.

As a young lieutenant, I lost a close friend in a jet crash. I learned that 60% of all tactical jet fatalities were pilot’s overwhelmed by mission tasks and flying into the ground. So, I designed an altitude warning system that used peripheral vision cues to create a falling sensation and literally scare the pilot into reacting. It worked. We received a government patent and it was ranked #1 for DARPA funding. Unfortunately, because I was just a pilot and didn’t have a large government lab backing me, the project was never funded. I learned that a good idea isn’t sufficient.

After I retired from the Navy at the 20-year point, I realized that pilots weren’t the only ones who needed to be scared into action. I used Probabilistic Risk Analysis to rank the greatest threats to the human race. Very few people want to listen to a lecture but everyone likes a good story. So, knowing that a good idea isn’t enough to get exposure, I decided stories as a medium to get the word out.

Each of the top threats became the nemesis in the three stories of the trilogy. With many experiences from my career (along with those of my friends in special ops and the intelligence community), it was easy to write an action adventure. I always enjoyed “wordsmithing” but had never done fiction. I quickly discovered I loved it.

How do you come up with the character names in your books?

All my character names are from real people, although I often mix and match first and last names – not to mention personalities – to allow them “plausible deniability.” You always have to be careful if you’re around me … because you may end up in a story. I always give my people the option to opt out before publishing.

Have you ever written yourself or people you know as a character in one of your books?

In addition to the above, I used much of my background as a fighter pilot along with the work I did on classified programs. The same applies to many of my key characters, but they’re almost always an amalgamation of people I know. However, there are some characters that play themselves, such as astronaut, Dr. Ed Lu and astronomer, Dr. Carolyn Shoemaker. In the second book, I’ve been working with Jim Cantore of the Weather Channel. He also gave me permission to use him as himself in one of the supporting roles. Hopefully, they can play themselves in the movie.

When did you decide to make a career of writing?

I really was thinking of stories primarily as a way to get an important warning out, and to reach people who think like I used to think.

After my Literary Agent read Resurrect, he immediately sent me to work with an editor, who asked me if I had ever paid attention in English class. After basic writing boot camp, my agent sent out Resurrect and the first publisher that read the manuscript offered us a contract. At that point, I thought this might be a great second career.

Do you outline before you sit down to write (Plotter style), or do you sit down at the computer each day, waiting to be surprised, writing your book literally by the seat of your pants (Pantser style)? Or are you a combination of the two?

Good question. I do both. I usually know where I want to end and have a good idea of the basic path to that destination, but as I write, many of my characters take on a life of their own and change the direction. I also get great ideas from my readers, reviewers, friends and family. I really thrive on that type of feedback.

What do you do when you are not writing? I have a small real estate business and an e-commerce business.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Actually, most of it is based on real events that happened to me or friends. Of course, I take liberties with the events and sometimes combine them. In the Navy, there is a running joke. “What’s the difference between a Fairy Tale and a Sea Story? One begins with, ‘Once upon a time…’ and the other starts with, ‘Hey, this is no s….’” And, of course, many say that’s the only difference.

The overall apocalyptic plots are reality that we hope never happens. Unfortunately, they are inevitable unless we do something, which is the purpose of the series. I really don’t believe that we will be wiped out by an asteroid or comet tomorrow, but there is a very real chance a major city could be obliterated or coastal cities inundated from a 100-foot-tall tsunamis created by an ocean impact. That would be truly a tragedy if we have the ability to prevent it. The same applies to the threats in books two and three.

A reviewer on Amazon, who knows you, mentioned that you would have been an astronaut but a freak accident prevented you from continuing in this pursuit. Is part of Andy/Josh's character and plot concerning him based on this part of your life?

In part. I was chasing the astronaut program and had a water skiing accident that busted a disc in my neck. It wasn’t a serious injury but enough to take me out of the running. However, there is absolutely no guarantee that I would have made it even if I hadn’t had the accident. I was in the running but hadn’t been selected.

Elizabeth states that she knows who Josh is and who sent him. Josh is dumbfounded, but does not question her about how she knew this. Why did you develop this part of the plot like this? I found it incomplete and an important part of the plot left undone and rather annoying.

Sorry. It is annoying but this is the first of a trilogy. I wanted to leave the identity of Jesse undefined at this point and up to the reader to decide. And it’s poor form to solve that mystery in book one of a trilogy.

Josh’s understanding of who Jesse is gradually morphs as he gets more information but he’s still unsure as the first story wraps up. Elizabeth, on the other hand, believes she knows who or what he (Jesse) is. It’s a classic clash between “I only believe what I can see, feel and hear,” versus woman’s intuition and faith. We will continue the discovery process as the story unfolds.

I really tried to make each story standalone with a real conclusion while remaining connected. I hate stories that leave you hanging until the next episode. Interestingly, the publisher made me take the last chapter of Resurrect and put it as the first chapter of book 2. I got around that to some extent by including much of that first Chapter as a “preview” of book two, at the end of book one.

The genre that best describes the Fuzed Trilogy is apocalyptic techno-thriller, and this trilogy is the first for me to read in this genre. Do you feel that this predominately attracts male readers or do you think that there would be some female readers that would be fans of this genre? Did you have a particular gender in mind when you wrote this Trilogy?

It’s interesting that you ask that. I wrote this predominantly with male readers in mind. It wasn’t just a demographic choice, as a new author, it’s easier to write from a male perspective and for a male audience.

However, I was very surprised and a little horrified when my publisher released it early to a large number of Christian reviewers that were predominantly women. Understandably, many of them expressed frustration in their reviews, stating that they would have never read it if they had known it was a techno thriller or science fiction. Despite that, they gave me some outstanding reviews and are responsible for much of the 4.7 of 5 stars.

There is a somewhat tragic love triangle and a strong romantic story that runs through the book. The few negative reviews we received were understandably due to my mild use of bad words and sexual innuendos. I thought long and hard about that, but I worked with fighter pilots, SEALS, etc., and I couldn’t bring myself to have some of my characters say “darn” or not notice the body of a beautiful woman. That would have been unbelievable and as you’ll see below, it would impact my mission to reach a specific target audience.

What message do you want to convey to your readers in Impact?

There are two messages. The first is in the “Author’s Note” at the end of the book. As mentioned, it warns of very real threats that could kills tens of millions with little or no warning. I highlight them only because we now have the technology to prevent them.

The second message is much more subtle. I was raised with no exposure to organized religion and believed that a Supreme Being wasn’t required to explain the universe. Loving physics and astrophysics, and watching its incredible journey, I realized its tenets are now far stranger than any religion.

From the time of Newton to the 1950s, it was easy to claim that science simply and intuitively explained everything significant that happened in the world, and there was no need for any supernatural or spiritual component.

That’s no longer true. Physics isn’t simple or intuitive anymore. It requires multiple dimensions. Quantum mechanics says objects can be in two places at the same time, and pop in and out of existence. The universe, including space and time itself, popped into existence and, therefore, required something to initiate it … that exists outside of space and time. The physics constants that define our universe are so perfectly fine-tuned to support life, it’s statistically impossible by chance.

Today, physics not only “allows” for the existence of a Supreme Being, but may actually “require” it. I hope to reach those, like I was, and, at least open their minds to the possibility that cutting edge physics is beginning to intersect with and support the potential existence of a Supreme Being. This is sometimes referred to as “sower” fiction.

What this means is that this series is NOT written for Christians. I love it when Christians read and enjoy it, but it was written specifically to reach non-Christians. With that in mind, I would ask those Christians who read it to keep in mind the purpose, and if you share it with your agnostic and atheist friends, DO NOT say it is a spiritual or Christian book. That defeats the purpose. I can tell you from past experience, when I was an atheist, I would have rather had root canal than read anything spiritual. Likewise, I would request that Christian reviewers NOT highlight the spiritual side of the story, again, to prevent our target audience from being scared away. You are now part of a covert operation.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

Show don’t tell!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write! Peter, as you know, we all have friends who are going to write that great novel … but never get around to it. The holidays are a great time to start. That’s when I started.

For those who have written, grab a guide to literary agents and start sending out queries. Although self-publishing is rapidly becoming the norm, getting your work in the hands of others, can dramatically improve the quality, as my editors helped me. And, at least for now, literary agents are still the gate keepers to the major publishers.

Who are you reading right now?

Some of my favourite authors were the late Arthur C. Clark, Isaac Asimov and C.S. Lewis. Right now, I’m reading mostly non-fiction to stay abreast of the latest science and technology, which is important when you’re writing techno-thrillers.

What’s next after the Fuzed Trilogy, do you have a new project in the works?

I’m working on a concept for the fourth book of the trilogy. lol

When will the next installment of the Trilogy be released?

Book two is finished and just has to complete the final proofing process. It’s also awaiting the movie development go ahead to determine when to release it. Book three is still in process.

Any progress you can tell us about Impact becoming closer to being made into a movie? Congratulations on this being optioned by the way! That must be a writer's biggest reward, especially with this happening to your first novel!

Thank you Peter. Yes, it’s very exciting. The development process has just begun. They’re still raising development funds but they have enough that they’ve started working on the initial video game concept. We’re also in the process of looking for a renowned screenplay writer. Movie development is a multi-year process and, of course, there are no guarantees, but our two producers, Rick Eldridge (The Ultimate Gift) and Fred Miller (Angels Sing) are extremely talented and have been nominated for Academy Awards. I have the greatest confidence in them.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Oddly, I haven’t really experienced that. If I slow down or get tired, I just move on to something else.

What tools have you found most successful in advertising/marketing yourself and your book?

Well, I’ve found a lot of things that don’t work and spent money on things that I shouldn’t have, as most authors do. Steve Harrison’s group has been helpful, although their programs are primarily geared to non-fiction authors, some of it applies to any writing. You need to be very careful in how you invest your money in marketing. That’s one of the reasons it’s helpful to have a literary agent. They can at least steer you to or away from programs that aren’t cost effective.

Did any specific author(s) motivate you to begin writing?

Arthur C. Clark (2001) was not only a brilliantly creative writer, he was also an astrophysicist and was the first person to come up with the idea of an artificial satellite back around WWII.

Where can readers find you?

We’re revamping our book site as we transition to movie development, but is now our primary site for the trilogy. People can reach me directly through the contact form on the site, or via Resurrect at Comcast dot net. I love getting emails with feedback and critique that allows me to improve the story. Many authors say that but I really mean and use it. I’d prefer the feedback as an email rather than in a review if possible. I always give readers credit in the acknowledgments of the next book if I incorporate their ideas.



which will soon be converting to




David, thank you so much for allowing me to interview you. You have given myself and readers of this interview insight into yourself and this enthralling and captivating novel that you have so masterfully constructed.

I am sure that readers are eager to either read Resurrect or are eagerly awaiting the release of iMagine, Book 2. Concerning the latter, I am with much anticipation!! 

Now, I encourage all visitors to enter the giveaway below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday 21 December 2014

Impact (Fuzed Trilogy, Book 1) by David E Stevens

Book Description:

Winner of the 2014 Epic Award and ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year, Resurrect is a cross between The Bourne Identity, Avatar and Armageddon. It tackles the most likely and preventable cataclysms facing humanity.

What if you were fatally injured but offered a second chance in a genetically perfect body? The price? You don't look the same and everyone you knew believes you're dead. Oh, by the way, you have two years to prevent the extinction of humanity. 

Ridiculous plot? Not so fast. According to new research, the probability of a sudden global cataclysm is ten times more likely that we originally thought (see Author Page for video). A portion of all proceeds will be donated to non-profits, such as the B612 Foundation, that are working to protect humanity. 

This Kindle eBook is a Second Edition and has been updated from the paperback version in preparation for taking the Fuzed Trilogy to the movies.

The Guru's Review: 

I originally bought the first edition when it was released, thanks to Amazon's Recommendations. It remained on my kindle unread until Amazon advertised the updated 2nd edition recently. 

I knew from the description, and the fact that Stevens knows what he is talking about that I would like this book. Stevens is a Former Navy Commander, graduate of Strike Fighter Weapons School (“Top Bomb”), and nuclear weapons qualified, he served as the Navy’s Strike Operations Officer for the Persian Gulf during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. With a Top Secret clearance, he also developed classified weapon systems, test piloted new fighters and earned a patent. I think that more than qualifies him to know what he is talking about!

One thing I hate is when a new author writes about what they know and it ruins the novel because they don't write well, but I cannot say this about Stevens. He writes well and this definitely makes this novel all the more enjoyable and easier to understand with all the technical content he includes about how government defense forces work, aviation, military intelligence, science, and all things concerning astrophysics. Where some authors bog the reader down with too much information about an issue or background information distracting the reader and causing them to become disconnected from the plot, Stevens successfully avoids this by only including information that the reader and plot requires is worded carefully and concisely. After reading this novel constructed in this way, any reader is going to walk away with a better understanding of all the concepts and topics that Stevens has included. 

This novel grabs you from the start and does not let you go! Stevens keeps your curiosity piqued throughout. It is one very interesting construct where science and the supernatural intersect. It is very easy to see that the description of this novel being a cross between The Bourne Identity, Avatar and Armageddon is very true, and can only add to the various layers that this novel has in its development. Makes for one very action packed and totally absorbing read. 

One of the strengths of this novel is that everything is in its place, there is not too much or too little of any of its ingredients. It is one very well-rounded and very well-balanced novel. Another is the balance Stevens achieves integrating the knowledge of astrophysics, aviation, science, military and government politics with the action and adventure, suspense and even the element of romance that I feel fits in extremely well here. I do look forward to seeing how the relationship between Elizabeth and Josh develops in books 2 and 3. I do like romance in novels like this as long as it does not take over or stick out from the plot. I love romance written by male authors. Stevens does this well, and what he has included on this issue actually enhances the suspense of this novel. 

A major plot element is the genetically perfect body and enhanced abilities that Josh is given following his death.  As the reader progresses in the novel, it is tempting to see Josh as a superhero, but Stevens portrays Josh as a rather humble one and he does not see himself as such or expects the accolades or notoriety that we are used to being placed on characters such as these. Again it gets back to my comment previously that everything is balanced, but I can see that how Josh is developed is not the main focus of this novel but rather the reason he was created this way is, and that is for the mission that Jesse has given him. His enhanced human abilities are there to enable him to achieve this mission. It is really fun as well as enthralling seeing Josh use these abilities to achieve his mission. My kind of superhero! 

Stevens has entered the author arena on one very firm footing and comes across as a natural, one would not realise from reading this novel that he is a new author. It very encouraging for any author and reader to then have reviews either 4 or 5 stars on Amazon. Then the icing on the cake is to have their debut novel optioned to be made into a movie!  

I have an interview I recently conducted with Stevens that will be posted a few days after this review and it reveals a lot more about the background to this novel, the Fuzed Trilogy, and the author himself. It also has a giveaway of 5 copies of the updated 2nd edition (only published in kindle format). I encourage everyone to read it on this blog and consider entering in the giveaway. You won't regret reading this book!  

Took me a few days to come down to earth after finishing this novel. I look forward to Book 2 with great anticipation. 

Highly Recommended. 

Saturday 13 December 2014

The Levine Affair: Angel's Flight by Lela Gilbert

The Levine Affair: Angel's Flight

Haram’s slaughter of Christian villagers have stunned the world. A barbaric gang of thugs has kidnapped of hundreds of schoolgirls. They have slaughtered young boys and men and have burned countless worshippers alive in their churches. They’ve raped and forcibly married Christian women to Muslim men. 

And now…. 

An American missionary has been kidnapped in by Boko Haram. 

A young Nigerian mother is sentenced to death by stoning. 

A Texas oilman has disappeared in Nigeria’s oil-rich delta. 

No government in the world will touch these politically charged cases. 

Acquisitions editor Karen Burke works for the small, L.A. based “faith and inspiration” imprint of a venerable New York publishing company. She arrives at work one Monday morning to find a book proposal on her desk. “See if this story has legs,” her boss writes. “If you have to do a site visit, do it. This could be huge!” 

The book proposal was written by an American, Nate Gregory, recounting his shocking recollections of being held hostage by Muslim radicals in Nigeria. His story is gripping, and although Nate was simply doing construction work on a short-term missionary assignment, he turns out to be a surprisingly talented writer. 

Karen is troubled, however, with his description of his Muslim captors, his seemingly “colonial” view of the Christian community in Africa, and his eloquent but relentless deprecation of “Sharia law,” the Islamic religious system under which he was held captive. He also makes incredible claims about brutal amputations as sentencing for crimes, crude violations of women’s rights, and the burning alive of Christians in their churches. 

Talented or not, is Nate Gregory just another Islamophobic religious fanatic who hates Muslims? 

Meanwhile, David Levine, an Israeli philanthropist based in London, has put an elite paramilitary team together. Levine is deeply concerned about the global threat of Islamic jihadists like Boko Haram, and their ferocious tactics in trying to impose Shari’a law around the world. 

Since neither the US, NATO nor any other government wants to get involved in politically incorrect religious politics, Levine has formed an elite team of former Special Forces commandoes. He sees it as his own little army – fighting jihadis, one deadly attack at a time. 

Unbeknownst to Nate Gregory – who’s been led astray by a Southern California preacher who claims to have miraculously saved him from his captors - Levine’s team, commanded by Joe Brac a retired Green Beret, was actually responsible for his release from captivity. 

Now Levine has tasked Brac with another rescue – this time to liberate Jumoke Akabakar, the 18-year-old Nigerian girl who has been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. 

The story unfolds as Karen Burke, in order to confirm the facts in Nate’s book proposal, travels to Nigeria to meet up with him. The two of them get along better than they might have imagined. But what seems to be a simple fact-finding mission soon gets increasingly ugly. 

While Karen and Nate are in Nigeria, they learn that an American oilman has been kidnapped and beheaded in the Niger River delta. At about the same time, the corrupt governor of the local Nigerian state is assassinated. Worst of all, an urgent warning reaches them that a mob of jihadis has targeted the church compound where they are staying. The Boko Haram terrorists are heavily armed and raging with hatred. 

All at once Karen and Nate find themselves in the crosshairs of bloodthirsty radicals. They have unexpectedly been left on their own and aren’t at all sure that help is one the way. They have no choice but to run for their lives. 

Joe Brac’s small team of Special Operators rescue has been working night and day to develop of plan to liberate Jumoke. That was their key mission, well conceived and meticulously planned. 

But now, unexpectedly, they have two more victims in grave danger. 

Will they find a way to rescue Nate and Karen?

The Guru's Review: 

I discovered Angel's Flight through a blog post promoting this novel from author, Martin Roth, who writes in the same genre, the persecuted church. His novels also involve a special ops team that support the persecuted Christian church with military force. I loved Martin's books, and I just love this one.  I am very encouraged to see that there are authors such as Roth and Gilbert who are writing novels to alert Christian readers of the plight of Christians and their persecution for their faith in God in countries where their religious/political regime is extremely hostile to the Bible, God and Christianity. Another author, whom I have all his books but have not read them yet, is D. I Telbat. His books look very exciting yet with the same serious message about the persecuted church.

The first thing that hit me reading Gilbert's novel is the detail she has included in the descriptions of all things military. This has been achieved by using the knowledge and experience of W. Jack Bruckner (LTC, Retired, Special Forces) to her fullest advantage here. His input is invaluable and definitely adds credibility and authenticity to the plot lines, and enriches the action scenes. It also adds credibility and development to the ops team characters and other military personnel. I loved the description of the management and planning system of Levine's special forces; this felt as if you were part of this special ops team. I would love to see this team continue in further books as Gilbert has created a team that becomes endeared to the reader, especially their leader, Joe Brac. 

Gilbert successfully recreates the Nigerian culture and political landscape and you really feel that you are transported there. The same  can be said for the Muslim agenda of domination and suppression/eradication of Christianity through violence and force. The Muslim extremists threat feels real, you can feels their hatred of Christianity and any who don't agree or follow the Muslim faith. Conversely, the fear, and desperation to escape this threat experienced by Karen, Nate and their cohorts is also real and is transferred to the reader. I was there with them dodging bullets, feeling that I would not escape unharmed or at all. 

Gilbert shows that she has researched and understands the mindset of the Muslim doctrine in relation to their terrorist activities/jihad, as explained by Levine, an Israeli philanthropist,
In their minds they are all part of one pan-Islamist nation that has no borders. And they've declared war on the rest of the world, especially on Jews and Christians. Have you heard some of the sermons in their mosques? Unbelievable hatred! And in some areas they're killing the so-called infidels by the thousands. As I'm surew you know, a lot of the violence goes unreported, and even if it is, no one lifts a finger to help. I think the time has come for private individuals to get involved. We have to fight for the sake of the oppressed...... because no one else will fight for them."
and further where he explains to Karen, must understand.....this so-called "war on terror' the minds of our enemies, is a war against the infidel-you and me-for the sake of establishing a pan-Islamic state. This isn't just about Nigeria. It is a global threat. In the minds of the jihadists, there is no difference between Christians and Jews and, really, all non-Muslim Americans....there are reports of books in mosques throughout America, calling for the death of Christians and Jews......their their view, we are mortal enemies because America supports the existence of Israel, and America does embrace radical Islam's geo-political ambitions.
It is both these accounts that show the main theme and background of this novel , the persecution of Christians and Jews and that the world does not seem to be doing too much to rescue these persecuted groups, hence Levine's formation of his special ops group as he explains, 
I intend to put together a small paramilitary unit that can perform surgical military strikes, rescue hostages, and deal with tyrants.... I have been very fortunate in my business and am privileged to do what I can to protect and assist innocent people in difficult circumstances. On several occasions it has been necessary for me to provide rescue and relief for certain individuals when they have run out of options.
When you read books like Gilbert's, Roth and I presume Telbat (having, as I mentioned previously, not read his yet), you cannot help but know that what is described in these books should also exist in reality. Would it not be heart-warming, inspiring and a great witness of who God is and what God can do if what is described in these novels was not just a fictitious account? 

Martin Roth, in a recent blog post about this book, has the following to say about this book,
The words “ripped from the headlines” have become a cliché, but they describe abundantly this excellent book. It is well researched, well written and features all the drama a reader would want from an international thriller, including, it must be noted, violence and a modicum of (somewhat opaque) sex.
The persecution of Christians around the globe, and particularly in the Muslim world, is an escalating terror. Yet too many Western Christians seem uninformed or, at best, aware but unwilling to do much.
We need more educational resources, in all forms of media, that vividly portray the new reality. That is why novels like “The Levine Affair: Angel’s Flight” serve such an important role. This is a novel that the church needs to read.
I could not have described this any better myself. After reading Roth's novels and now this one, I agree that the church needs to read novels such as these and of Telbat's to get the message about the persecuted Church and get real about this neglected area of Christianity, that Western Christianity is isolated from, and which it should not be.

I wondered why Gilbert chose Nigeria as the setting for this novel, and the following from Roth's post gives a clear reason why she did so, 

A harrowing report in the Baptist Press last year noted that Nigeria was, at that time, by far the most lethal country for Christians.
According to the article:

The publicly reported Christian casualties in Nigeria last year [2012] were greater than the Christian casualties of Pakistan, Syria, Kenya and Egypt combined. In fact, Nigeria alone accounted for almost 70 per cent of Christians killed globally. This makes Nigeria the most lethal country for Christians by a huge margin.
Statistics like this should be sobering for the Christian Church, especially for Western Christianity and act as a wake up call. I applaud these three authors for writing novels to reflect this reality and pray that God use their novels to wake up any reader to this reality. 

I am very appreciative of these three authors and it has woken me up to the reality of the persecuted Christian Church. I believe that God can and does use fiction to educate, entertain, and change a Christian's heart, and attract a non-believer to consider Him to be real. Gilbert, Roth and Telbat are strategically placed by God to be used in this media to, as Roth so aptly put it, 
We need more educational resources, in all forms of media, that vividly portray the new reality.
Christian fiction, through these authors, portrays this  very vividly. 

Angel's Flight: Highly Recommended. 

Saturday 6 December 2014

Interview with Debut Author, Justin Price, Author of The Beginning of the End (The Called, Book 1)

I first came across Justin Price through Twitter where he was advertising his debut novel, The Called. I contacted him asking for more information. I liked what he had to say about this book. I offered to review it once released. My review can be found here. I like to support and encourage new authors so this interview is a fitting part of encouraging him and promoting this book. 

I was totally enthralled in The Called. I am looking forward to the rest of this series. Justin has stated that he is very excited about the next instalment which will be released in the Spring of 2015. 

Please read on and check out this new promising author.

The Called

The Called is an action packed apocalyptic sci-fi thriller. In a world where all religion has been purged from society, a remnant of individuals is called out for the purpose of withstanding the evil that has emerged onto the world scene. The World Council takes steps to snuff out the pockets of believers who will not swear their allegiance to Samyaza al Assad, the Syrian leader of the new world government. Advanced technology causes untold chaos as the battle between good and evil spills out onto earth.

Author Bio

Justin Price is a Christian author and speaker. He resides in Illinois with his wife and two daughters. His desire is to see believers live their lives to the potential that God had intended for them and to influence the culture for Christ in new ways. His debut novel, The Called, was released on Amazon on November 27th, 2014. 

Tell us a little about yourself, your work and how you got into writing.

I am in my late 20’s. I grew up in church and was saved and baptized at a young age. I began preaching and speaking around the age of 14 until I was 16. I strayed from God for a few years until God swooped in and picked me up again. I was never really sure out of high school and college what I wanted to do with my life. As a result, I have worked several different types of jobs, but never really found fulfillment in any of them. My wife and I went away to Nashville, TN on our fourth anniversary in April 2014. It was then that I decided to make the leap and get into writing, which I had wanted to do for years, but just never took the time to realize that dream. 

How do you come up with the character names in your books?

That method varies. Sometimes, it is based on people that I know personally. Other characters have names that mean something specific to the story or character of that person. Take Samyaza in The Called for instance. That may sound like an odd name, but look it up on google and see what results you get.

Have you ever written yourself or people you know as a character in one of your books?

So far, I haven’t written myself or anyone I know as a character, but there are certain aspects of some of my characters that I have gleaned from myself or
relationships with friends or family.

What type of research did you do for this book?

I did research on technological trends and where we are expected to be one hundred years in the future. I did some research on post traumatic stress disorder and aftereffects of witnessing violent crimes.

Why did you choose the world leader/antichrist to be Syrian?

The bible refers to him as the Assyrian. There are some differences on whether that is actually talking about the antichrist or not. I tend to lean that direction but Samyaza al Assad is also of European descent as well and he even has blue eyes. In our eclectic society, with the world increasingly becoming a melting pot, I wanted to include both possibilities in his background.

How did you decide what to include in the speech by Cain to the World Council of Nations? That seemed very well thought out and professional, almost as if it was written by a political speech writer. 

I am really into keeping up with politics and I have always enjoyed history. I think that I have just heard so many speeches that it came naturally without much forethought.

You write well and others on Twitter have stated this as well. Have you always been proficient with the English language or did you have any coaching as you developed this novel?

Oddly enough, English was my least favorite subject in school. Once we got into literature classes, I became very interested. I've also been a public speaker; preaching and teaching for over a decade. I think it has just naturally developed. Grammar check and being friends with the local librarian is a great help also. 

Where did the idea for an apocalyptic, sci-fi, eschatological topic come from? Sounds very ambitious for a new author and one I must say that you deliver very well.  

I have always had an interest in eschatology and I basically grew up reading the Left Behind series. I also enjoy a good sci-fi story. It's hard to pinpoint the moment that I decided that this was the type of story I wanted to go with. I did pray about what to write and I just started writing. The story quickly took shape and I knew where I wanted to go with this. Not only with the first book, but for the entire series.  

What question or theme/message did you want to communicate?

My main purpose is to communicate that there is a God who cares for your struggles and your pain. He is a loving God who pursues His creation fervently through His Spirit. I want to communicate that when Christianity is really stripped down to it's bare bones, it is really about a simple love for God and a decision to follow him on this adventure of life.

What do you do when you are not writing?

When I am not writing, I am spending time with my family or working my day job as a service technician for a propane company.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination? 

It is really a mixture of both. I approached my first book purely from my imagination, but as I read through what I have written, I can see many experiences that relate to things that I have felt or experienced in my own life. In fact, it is my hope that people see a little bit of themselves in each character. 

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

I think that the most simple, yet resounding piece of advice I have ever received has come from a few authors. “Never give up.” It can be a difficult profession to be in like any other job in arts or entertainment until you catch a break. It can feel like all the hours spent writing and promoting your work isn’t worth it, but anything worth having is going to be work. That is a perspective that needs to keep echoing in my mind as I press forward as a writer.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t give up. Keep pressing forward, change if necessary, and do everything with the potential readers in mind. See your craft as an art form where you can express yourself before you see it as a job.

Who are you reading right now?

A.D. 30 by Ted Dekker.

What’s next, do you already have a new project in the works?

I am in the beginning stages of planning the sequel to The Called, which I plan on releasing in Spring of 2015. 

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

I have suffered from writer’s block, but not for prolonged periods. There are days when the words flow like a river, but sometimes I have to be happy with a couple of paragraphs. I just take a break for a day and start back in at a later time. By then, the block has been cleared. 

What tools have you found most successful in advertising/marketing yourself and your books?

Social media; especially Twitter. Limited time sales of the book also helps to gain visibility among the many books on Amazon.

Did any specific author(s) motivate you to begin writing?

There are so many authors that motivated, inspired, or influenced me in some way. Ted Dekker, Frank Peretti, Tim LaHaye, and Jerry B. Jenkins. Even authors such as Stephen King had an early influence on my style. 

Where can readers find you?

Readers can follow me on Twitter at @JRPrice86. 

They can also keep up with my blog at 

or find my first book on Amazon at 

Wednesday 3 December 2014

The Beginning of the End (The Called, Book 1) by Justin Price

The Called: The Beginning of the End

The Called is an action packed apocalyptic sci-fi thriller written by Justin Price. In a world where all religion has been purged from society, a remnant of individuals is called out for the purpose of withstanding the evil that has emerged onto the world scene. The World Council takes steps to snuff out the pockets of believers who will not swear their allegiance to Samyaza al Assad, the Syrian leader of the new world government. Advanced technology causes untold chaos as the battle between good and evil spills out onto earth.

The Guru's Review:

One of the great things about being an avid reader is getting absorbed in a novel that is in the genre you love, written well, fast paced, plot flows seamlessly, content grabs you and does not let go, and the characters are ones you can relate to. The icing on the cake is when you also know that it is written by a new author! That for me is a real treat and a win/win for both the reader and the author. The reader gets a well-crafted novel and can get straight into it and be transported to the world created and the author has had a great head start into his new field. 

Such is the case for myself reading Price's The Beginning of the End. I am very impressed with this. It is a real page turner and I became lost in the apocalyptic world that Price constructed very convincingly and consequently I could not put this down. It has a real cliff hanger ending not just for one character, but a few; not just for one plot line but more so. This makes it even more baited with anticipation for the next instalment and according to Price, he is more excited about this sequel than this first instalment! I would more than agree with this.

Price has successfully blended the genres of the supernatural, science-fiction, apocalyptic and eschatology into a multi-layered construct that works very well and adds depth to the plot and the overall enjoyment of this novel. It is this that is all the more enthralling and is what draws the reader in. This also is a great part of the success of this novel and series.

The spiritual elements are excellent in this novel. I loved the sincerity of Price to show the Christian characters being faithful to God and willing to risk everything including their lives to know the truth of the Gospel, and to lead those who seek Him to this truth. It is really confronting reading how realistic this scenario is where all religion is banned and the penalty for disobeying and defying this ban is either death or imprisonment for life. 

I pray that the reactions and motives fo seeking the Truth of Christ and the Gospel by these characters challenges and encourage Christians to not falter but to take a stand for Christ and the Gospel. I pray that these reactions serve as a role model for us to consider when what is described in this novel becomes our reality; because this is our future.

I thoroughly enjoyed the angelic visitation to various characters and this is significant as Price shows the reader a God who is active and present in a believer's life or in one who is not a believer but seeking Him. I feel this is a strength in this novel. Just as the Spirit is alive and acts in our lives, so He needs to be in fiction. I believe that fiction can portray the realities of life and also of the supernatural. The Spirit can minister to the reader in fiction just as He can with His Creation.  

I am so glad that I came across Justin on Twitter. I definitely had a good feeling about his book when he described it to me. It has more than been worth it.

Highly Recommended.